A Rutland man, who was shot by police in July 2020, is now facing second charge of second-degree attempted murder against a Rutland City Police Department officer during the same incident which resulted in the man being shot.
Michael Goodnough, 46, pleaded not guilty on July 29 to one felony count of second-degree attempted murder, three felony counts of aggravated assault on a law-enforcement officer by threatening with a deadly weapon, three misdemeanor counts of grossly negligent driving and one misdemeanor count of cocaine possession.
However, the state filed three counts of second-degree attempted murder. No probable cause was found for two of the three counts, but on Monday Judge Nancy Waples found probable cause for one of those two counts which hadn’t been supported in July.
At Goodnough’s arraignment, probable cause was found for the charge that alleged Goodnough had attempted to kill Officer Nathan Harvey. On Monday, Waples allowed the charge that alleged Goodnough attempted to kill Cpl. Adam Lucia.
Rutland County State’s Attorney Rose Kennedy did not ask Waples to reconsider probable cause for the third charge that involved Officer Tyler Billings, the RCPD officer who shot Goodnough.
Each of the charges of second-degree attempted murder carry a presumptive minimum term of 20 years and a maximum term of life in prison, if Goodnough is convicted.
Goodnough appeared in court remotely on Monday to determine whether he will be held pending the resolution of the charges against him. However, there were technical issues that prevented Goodnough from being able to access the remote hearing for almost an hour.
Waples gave Kennedy and T. Lamar Enzor, the attorney representing Goodnough until Sept 17 to file arguments about whether Goodnough should be held. Waples said she will then issue a decision on the matter.
Lucia and Billings testified on Monday and Kennedy played audio recordings of interviews given by each officer to troopers from the Vermont State Police who had been assigned to probe the officer-involved shooting.
Vermont Attorney General T.J. Donovan issued a decision in November that Billings’ actions had been justified because he believed Harvey’s life was at risk when he fired his service weapon in July 2020. Donovan said Billings would not be prosecuted.
During their testimony, Billings and Lucia said they had arranged to buy crack cocaine from Robert Vandriel in July 2020. They said they had arranged to make the buy at a public parking lot off of North Main Street, but when Vandriel arrived, he was the passenger in a car being driven by Goodnough.
The officers testified that Goodnough attempted to drive off quickly. During the activity, Harvey was knocked to the ground and both Billings and Lucia said they believed Harvey had been seriously injured or killed.
Billings said he fired his gun eight times.
Lucia said he had moved during the incident because he saw the black 2000 Infinity QX4 sport utility vehicle that Goodnough was driving as a threat. Asked about what direction the SUV was moving, Lucia said, “Seemed to be right at me.”
“I was terrified. I thought I was gonna get run over,” he said.
Kennedy argued, and Waples later agreed, that a video made by a camera attached to one of the police vehicles at the scene, seemed to to show the QX4 hitting a parked vehicle directly behind Lucia.
Enzor said the actions seen in the vehicle did not demonstrate that Goodnough had the intent to hit Lucia with the SUV.
“Mr. Goodnough is certainly reacting to the situation when he first backs up. He apparently crashed into another object or vehicle as he backs up in reaction to that (driving) forward. The video, when the court looks at it, may actually show the officer moving in front of the vehicle in some fashion that Mr. Goodnough, given the timing, wouldn’t necessarily acknowledged (the officer) was there,” he said.
Enzor said the video may support a charge of gross negligent driving or attempted aggravated assault but not attempted murder.
Goodnough appeared from prison after being sentenced at the end of July in the U.S. District Court for Vermont for selling drugs in December 2018. Goodnough was convicted of the charge in May 2019 but his sentence was deferred at the time because he agreed to participate in the federal drug court program.
Goodnough left drug court before completion. After the July 8, 2020, incident, during which he was shot five times, Goodnough was brought back to federal court this year and sentenced on July 28 to serve two years in jail.
Because Goodnough had been in custody since he was shot, he is expected to have about a year’s credit toward completing that 24-month sentence.
Besides the attempted second-degree murder charges, Goodnough could be sentenced to up to 56 years in prison if convicted of the remaining nine charges he is facing in Rutland County criminal court.